Mexico has nominated a former government pollster with close ties to President Enrique Peña Nieto’s home state to be its new ambassador in the United States, two officials familiar with the matter said on Tuesday August 4th.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the two said Mexico had put forward Miguel Basañez, an academic from outside the diplomatic service, who worked closely with a distant cousin of Peña Nieto, Alfredo del Mazo Gonzalez, in the State of Mexico.
Both del Mazo, a second cousin to Peña Nieto’s father, and the president were governors of the state. Both are associated with the Grupo Atlacomulco, a powerful group within the ruling party that bears the name of the town where Peña Nieto was born.
The Mexican government said the designation of the next ambassador was still underway.
“Until the process is completely finished, the foreign ministry will make no comment on decisions that are not official,” a foreign ministry spokesman said.
The nomination of a man who since the 1980s has been known chiefly as a political scientist and pollster suggests that Peña Nieto is keen to have control of the important diplomatic post among trusted allies from the state he governed from 2005 to 2011.
After a year beset by scandals and setbacks, some lawmakers within the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, believe it would be wise for Peña Nieto to loosen the hold his inner circle has on major posts.
During the 1980s, Basañez was briefly attorney general of the State of Mexico under del Mazo, and then became his boss’s private secretary in the Energy Ministry from 1986 to 1988.
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